Father Kevin O’Brien, SJ, to deliver 2024 Bellarmine lecture on Jan. 31

FAIRFIELD, Conn. —Presented by the Center for Catholic Studies at Fairfield University, the 2024 Bellarmine Lecture will take place on Wednesday, January 31, at 7 pm in the Dolan School of Business Event Hall. This in-person event is free and open to the public.

In his lecture, titled “Eliciting Great Desires’: Jesuit Education as a Call to Freedom, Justice & Reconciliation,” Father Kevin O’Brien, S.J., will share how, long ago in 1551, Ignatius Loyola wrote to his fellow Jesuits at their newly founded college in Ferrara, Italy, and instructed them to “endeavor to conceive great resolves and elicit equally great desires to be true and faithful servants of God.”

With the help of members of Fairfield Bellarmine’s inaugural Class of 2026, Father O’Brien will explore how Jesuit educators today continue to elicit bold and holy desires in students to realize their God-given potential and embrace with greater freedom their call to build a more just and gentle world.

Father O’Brien teaches in Fairfield University’s Department of Religious Studies and serves as founding vice provost and executive director of Fairfield Bellarmine, an initiative to expand access and affordability to Jesuit higher education by offering a two-year associate’s degree program to low-income and first-generation students from Bridgeport, Conn., and surrounding communities.

Prior to Fairfield, Father O’Brien taught and served in the administrations of Saint Joseph’s, Georgetown, and Santa Clara universities. He has served on the boards of Marquette, Seattle, and Fordham universities.

Winner of a 2012 ACP (Association of Catholic Publishers) Excellence in Publishing Award, Fr. O’Brien’s first book, The Ignatian Adventure: Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius in Daily Life (Loyola Press, 2011), has sold more than 60,000 copies and has been translated into three languages.

His most recent book, Seeing With the Heart: A Guide to Navigating Life’s Adventures (Loyola Press, 2023), was described in an America magazine review as “an invitation to live, as St. Ignatius writes, with magnanimity, inspiring us to be ‘great-souled’ people attentive to the needs of others, clear in our integrity, rooted in hope and as ‘beholders of the holy.’”

Born in Canada and raised in South Florida, Father O’Brien practiced law and taught high school before joining the Jesuits in 1996. He earned a bachelor’s degree in government from Georgetown University, a law degree from the University of Florida, a master’s degree in philosophy from Fordham University, and two advanced theological degrees from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology (now part of Boston College) in Cambridge, Mass.

The 2024 Bellarmine Lecture with Father Kevin O’Brien, S.J., will take place on Wednesday, January 31 at 7 pm in Fairfield University’s Dolan School of Business Event Hall, located at 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT  06824. This event is free and open to the public. For more information about Fairfield’s Center for Catholic Studies, please visit